Posted on 15th Feb, 2021
Diversity and Inclusion are two buzzwords we hear often, quickly categorize as being the HR department's prerogative, and commonly, rather unfortunately, misunderstand.
Today, let us take a quick look at the concept of diversity – what we often understand diversity to mean; what diversity really indicates; and why true diversity directly impacts businesses positively.
Diversity is not just about checking off the boxes and ensuringthat the organization recruits candidates based on their identities, backgrounds, or gender. Nor is inclusion simply aboutoffering an employee the chance to offer feedback during an annual survey. The concept of D&I encompasses so much more than this simple lip-service to its name, and if clearly understood and applied, incorporating D&I into the fabric of an organization can offer real value to the business.
Diversity is a concept whichoffers us a glimpse of how different everyone is from each other, not just on the basis of looks or ethnicity, but in terms of personality, experiences, ideas, hobbies, career aspirations and lifestyles, to name a few area of differentiation.
In the corporate world, while referring to a candidate as "diverse" is being used increasingly as code to indicate that the candidate may belong to a non-dominant or historically less privileged group, such a nomenclature may not be the most accurate or efficient. This is so particularly, as terming a candidate as being a “diverse candidate” or a “diverse person”, considering how we all differ from each other (and are never the same) does not offer us any insight into the richness of experience the said candidate is likely to be bringing to our table.
Rather, diversity in the true sense refers to having individuals with diverse backgrounds coming together to share and learn from each other's unique experiences, and demonstrating the ability to weave together richer and more relevant insights through successfully navigating the plethora of distinctive perspectives on the table, to arrive at innovative solutions to possible problems.
Simply put, in a truly diverse group, team or organization, a problem is likely to be viewed multi-dimensionally, through various perspectives and lenses, before arriving at an innovative, holistic, and well thought out solution.
Ensuring diversity in organizations thus (actually, not just in an overall organization, but even ensuring diversity within teams and groups) helps to create more innovative workforces and maximize the full potential of different ideologies and outlooks – equipping the business to look at possible problems through the viewpoints of a variety of possible target-groups and stakeholders, and achieving solutions which may satisfy most, if not all of them.
Incorporating Diversity into an organization thus, must not be viewed at any level as a mere lip-service to being 'diverse' or to checking off boxes to be politically correct; rather, the value of employing and listening to employees forming the diverse workforce must be duly noticed, acknowledged and appreciated; in an organization's quest to becoming both a sought after employer, and a more successful business.